Hero Down: Red Bank Police Officer James 'Chip' Smith Killed By Wife
Kodak, TN – Red Bank Police Department (RBPD) Officer James “Chip” Smith was fatally shot by his wife during a domestic dispute on Saturday night.
Court documents said that police were called to the 3000-block of Winfield Dunn Parkway at about 7:23 p.m. on Feb. 1, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
Responding Sevierville police officers found Officer Smith, 41, lying on his back on the lawn with a gunshot wound to his stomach.
Court records said that Officer Smith’s wife, 37-year-old Melissa Smith, was on the ground beside him holding her hands to his abdomen when police arrived, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
Officer Smith was transported to University of Tennessee Medical Center where he died.
Melissa Smith was taken to the Sevierville Police Department and questioned by investigators, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
She told police that she and her husband, who are both from Soddy Daisy, had been at the Old Tennessee Distillery Co. for about two hours earlier in the evening.
When they left the bar, she told police that she and Officer Smith began arguing in the car, according to the Chattanooga Free Press.
Melissa Smith told investigators that the fight escalated to the point where her husband pulled the car over into a parking lot.
Court documents said that Officer Smith and his wife got out of their vehicle and continued arguing.
That’s when Melissa Smith returned to the vehicle, grabbed a handgun, and shot her husband in the abdomen at point-blank range, according to the Chattanooga Times Free Press.
Police said Melissa Smith confessed to shooting Officer Smith.
Officers recovered a .380 semi-automatic pistol at the scene, the Chattanooga Times Free Press reported.
Melissa Smith was arrested and booked into the Sevier County Jail on charges of first-degree murder and possession of a handgun while under the influence.
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Officer James ‘Chip’ Smith,” the RBPD said in a Facebook post on Sunday morning. “The Red Bank Police Department lost an outstanding officer and friend yesterday.”
In addition to having worked for the RBPD for many years, Officer Smith also previously served the Chattanooga Police Department, the Soddy-Daisy Police Department, and the Hamilton County Sheriff’s Office.
Hamilton County Sheriff Jim Hammond posted a note of condolence on his department’s official Facebook page.
“We are saddened by the loss of a fellow officer in such tragic circumstances,” Sheriff Hammond wrote. “Our hearts go out to Chief Seymour and our brothers in blue at the Red Bank Police Department during this very difficult time. Chip has served his community for many years as both a volunteer fireman and law enforcement officer. He will be greatly missed by all who knew him.”
Officer Smith’s law enforcement career spanned over 15 years, according to a fundraising page shared by the RBPD.
“He honorably and faithfully served this agency and community,” the agency said. “For those that ever met him or know him, they know that he was kind and always willing to do anything to help you. His loss will leave a void at our agency and the law enforcement community.”
“We want to take this opportunity to ask for everyone’s support during this very difficult time,” the department added. “Please keep his family, friends and fellow law enforcement family in your thoughts and prayers.”
Officer Smith leaves behind his 14-year-old son, Logan, according to the fundraising page.
“Logan has not only tragically lost his father, but his grandmother is terminally ill,” the website read. “Those of you who know the circumstances know the extent of his loss. The funds raised for Logan Smith will go towards his care and needs as he and his family face this difficult time.”
Donors have contributed over $4,700 to the effort so far.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Red Bank Police Department Officer James “Chip” Smith, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.